TAG Foundation extends Mariners scholarship agreement

The Central Coast Mariners are pleased to announce that the sponsorship agreement for TAG Foundation to provide funds for Mariners Academy players to graduate to scholarships has been extended for the 22/23 season.

The scholarship players selected for this season’s TAG Foundation sponsorship include academy graduates Sasha Kuzevski, James Bayliss, Cameron Windust and Dor Jok.

In the last few years TAG Foundation has played a key role in providing funds for Mariners Academy players to help kickstart their professional football careers.

Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp is very pleased for the partnership to be continuing. 

“TAG Foundation has been providing scholarship opportunities for boys selected at the Mariners Academy for three seasons now and it’s been an amazing success” Mielekamp said. 

TAG Foundation founder Anton Tagliaferro added “I have to congratulate the Mariners Academy and staff on their recruitment and player selection and on the professional preparation and development of these players in their first steps of a career in professional football.

“All Mariners fans should be very proud of the work being done at the Mariners Academy and the players coming through into the A-League team; this is not always an easy transition and only the very best make it to the top of professional football.”

Many former Academy players have now moved onto first team football, including current Mariners Josh Nisbet and Jacob Farrell, who all came through the TAG Foundation programme. 

“To have seen former Mariner Academy graduates Josh Nisbet, Jacob Farrell, Lewis Miller and Alou Kuol who were all sponsored by TAG foundation represent the Australia U23 team that reached the Asian Cup semi-finals a few months ago was an extremely proud moment for me and for everyone involved with the club and Academy.

“To see 18-year-old Garang, another Academy boy sponsored by TAG Foundation, now playing for the Socceroos and making a difference against New Zealand the other afternoon was another fantastic moment for everyone at the Academy and the club.

“These events are real milestones of the success of the co-operation between the partnership between TAG Foundation and the Mariners Academy that we started 3 years ago,” he said.

Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery is extremely grateful for the partnership, believing that the work of the TAG Foundation has allowed many future stars to flourish on the Central Coast.

“It cannot be underestimated how important the TAG foundation has been to the success of the club since their involvement in the scholarship program. Without these scholarships it would have been very hard for us to bring these exceptional young players into train with us full time,” Montgomery said. 

“Without full time training in a professional environment and the time to grow with us coaches there to nurture and teach them it would be very hard for them to be ready to play in the A-League at such a young age.

“There are Mariners players now playing all over the world at some big clubs who may not have had the opportunity if not for the TAG foundation and as the head coach of the club I am very grateful for the support Anton has given me over the years. It has allowed me to push my vision of making the Mariners the best development club in the country.”  

This goal to become the best development club in Australia has certainly been achieved, with the Mariners ranking first in the AFC for minutes given to academy developed players. They accounted for 47% of all Mariners minutes last season. 

Both Montgomery and Tagliaferro are pleased that new Mariners Chairman Richard Peil is keen to continue and expand the Academy programmes and to see the club now investing further in the upgrading of the resourcing in this area to help ensure its future success.